Dovetailing nicely with my current Boardwalk Empire obsession is Ken Burns’ latest epic doc, Prohibition, which premieres this week on PBS. While Burns’ documentary has been in the works for years (in collaboration with director Lynn Novick), the timing could not be better, as Boardwalk has drawn so many people to the characters, politics and aesthetics of the era and airs the second episode of its new season this week as well.
Burns, the master documentarian (and previous Tavis guest) behind such unparallelled works as The Civil War, Baseball and Jazz, takes his usual approach to this subject, marrying exhaustive research with archival footage and photographs, expert commentary and dramatic readings in the characters of the era’s key players. On the latter score, as Burns’ profile increases, so does the caliber of actors in his stable, which for this project include Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Patricia Clarkson and Jeremy Irons.
As I wait impatiently for the first season of Boardwalk Empire to be released on DVD (and the directors’ commentaries and special features undoubtedly contained therein), I look forward to comparing Burns’ notes on the real thing.
Check out a behind-the-scenes trailer and read more about the series here.